Eleni Levreault is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at the University of Ottawa
They said medicine, when you begin,
Is like staring Mount Everest in the face.
You wonder how the mountain you climbed
Suddenly shrinks to a hill beside what is yet to come
Yet you start the climb;
This is what you’ve trained for, after all
And as summer turns to fall, the journey begins:
Genetics, anatomy, they consume all your time
As the snow settles in, the bell-ringers cease to chime
But the tendrils of stress creep a little too far
And the new semester brings with it more trials
More wildfires, the oasis a long way away
The air thins: hypoxia on the horizon
The climb slows: muscles scream
And all you can do is envy the birds
Who glide to the top with ease
Cut their journeys in half, wings in the breeze
Until you realize that unlike birds,
You are not born to fly to the top,
Not born to glide seamlessly,
Not born a doctor.
You are born with hands, so you can climb,
Bruised, sometimes bleeding,
To the top of Mount Everest.
For it is the journey that makes the physician
And the physician that gives the journey meaning.